Houses That Work. Making Your Existing Home Green The Smart Way! Eco-Friendly Windows And More.

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If sky-high energy bills are getting you down, you’ve probably wondered about making your home more energy-efficient. The home improvement industry has exploded with ‘green’ products and practices in the past decade; products that promise to save you hundreds of dollars in electricity bills, products that are made from recycled or sustainable materials, and products that will last longer than their older counterparts. With so much to choose from, it can be difficult for a homeowner to decide just how they want to spend their greenbacks when it comes to going green. The best course of action? Put your house to work! Avoid the hype and choose products that will continue working for you long after the contractor is paid off. Here are four ways to make your existing home green – the smart way!Evaluate Insulation & SidingOne important aspect of going green is reducing your carbon footprint by using less energy in multiple aspects of your house. One of the best ways to reduce energy usage is to ensure your home is adequately insulated. You can take it one step further by using eco-friendly insulation made out of materials like cotton, wool, recycled fabrics like denim and even soybeans. While you’re poking around the walls, evaluate your outdoor siding. If your home is older and in need of a facelift, consider green products like fiber-cement siding or insulated vinyl siding. Both will last for many, many years and require virtually no maintenance. Update Dated AppliancesThis is one place where you want to avoid the hype. A luxe kitchen with high-end matching stainless steel appliances looks gorgeous, but practicality and functionality is more important here. Kitchen appliances – namely the refrigerator, stove and dishwasher – use a LOT of energy. Update the older appliances first, and switch them out for new, Energy Star rated products. Choose the level of product that suits your home’s style, your budget, and that of comparative homes in your neighborhood. As with any remodeling project, it’s important not to overdo it and price yourself out of the neighborhood. Door Or Window Replacement  New windows and doors for your whole house can be an expensive project. But if you have an older home with drafty windows and doors, and you’re seeing a significant impact to your energy bill, a door or window replacement project can definitely pay off in the long run. When shopping for new windows, this is the time for spring for high-quality products like Energy Star rated windows that use sustainable woods or recycled composite materials, and triple-paned windows that will keep your house comfortable year-round. Improve Indoor Air QualityThis may sound strange, but people who live in eco-friendly homes with better indoor air quality are healthier, happier, and some studies even suggest smarter. A couple ways you can go green here are to:Use low or no VOC (volatile organic compound) paint. They are readily available at home improvement stores and comparable in price to traditional paints.Mind your flooring. Aside from the obvious ‘ick’ factors when you think of all the allergens, dust mites, mold and pet dander that gets trapped in carpet fibers, traditional carpet backing is loaded with the above mentioned VOCs and can take years – yes, years – to dissipate after installation. Either choose eco-friendly carpet with low or no VOCs and make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter, or opt for hard floors made from sustainable materials like cork, bamboo, or even hardwood grown in FSC-certified forests (FSC is the Forest Stewardship Council). When it comes to green remodeling, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to go green or go home. Even small changes can make a big impact. Put your house to work by employing smart green practices that will save you money and make your home a happier, healthier place to live.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Opal Enterprises provides many ‘green’ home improvement services, including installing Wheaton windows and doors and windows in Elmhurst. To learn more about this St. Charles window replacement expert, or to get a quote, visit their site.